The Saints' success did not carry over following Dempsey's miracle kick. A 21-10 loss the next week to the Miami Dolphins started a six-game losing streak which left the Saints with a 2-11-1 mark for the season.
With the second pick in the 1971 NFL Draft, Roberts and Mecom selected Ole Miss quarterback Archie Manning, who became the cornerstone for the woebegone franchise for the next decade. In Manning's first NFL game, his two yard touchdown run on the game's final play gave the Saints a 24-20 victory over the Los Angeles Rams, the same team which defeated the Saints in the franchise's first game in 1967. Four weeks later, the Saints stunned the eventual Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys 24-14, but New Orleans finished the season 4-8-2.
New Orleans regressed sharply in 1972, falling back to 2-11-1, and Roberts was fired shortly after a 31-6 preseason loss to the New England Patriots on August 25, 1973.